October 6th to 8th, 2016 Dili Timor Leste
October, 11th 2016, marked the 20th anniversary of the official awarding announcement of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize to two Timorese Sons, His Eminence Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo and His Excellency President Dr. José Manuel Ramos Horta.
The Nobel Committee honored them for their continuing efforts to find a just and peaceful solution to the conflict in East Timor, now Timor-Leste. The awarding of the prize in 1996 was a crucial moment for the Timorese Resistance. It was the first step in a long negotiation process to find an internationally acceptable diplomatic solution based on the right of people to self-determination. This process would culminate three years later with a Referendum holding and justify the Independence Restoration of the country on the 20th May 2002.
On the occasion of this event my colleagues Prof. Dr. Josef Osterwalder and Prof. Dr. Karlmeinrad Giesinger and I were invited as guest of honors to participate in the celebrations.
While my two colleagues – both medical doctors – combined their visit with the assessment of the medical infrastructure in Timor-Leste to develop recommendations for the Timor Foundation’s activities in the healthcare sector my role was to present the Timor Foundation’s approach and ongoing activities to the local and international guests.
Upon arrival, we met H.E. Dr. José Ramos-Horta, president of the Timor-Foundation, and Mrs. Barbara Lietz, CEO of the Timor-Foundation. For all of us it was an honor to be part of this event. For Timor Foundation it was a chance, a platform to get recognition internationally.
In my capacity as member of the Timor Foundation and Director of the ASIA CONNECT Center at the University of St.Gallen I had been in Timor-Leste 2 times before and had arranged for different additional meetings. In the following, I would like to briefly report on my experiences.
After our arrival, I met with different local collaboration partners whom I had been working already in the past to understand how specific projects had made progress and what future projects might be interesting to further collaborate on. However, already on the 3rd day of my stay in Timor-Leste the the 20th Anniversary celebrations (www.peace-in-timor.org for more information) started and myself as well as Prof. Dr. Osterwalder, Prof. Dr. Giessinger and Mrs. Barbara Lietz as CEO of the Timor Foundation were invited to join the formal events where we met and discussed our ideas with such honorable guests such as Dr. Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2014, or HE the President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, Mr. Taur Matan Ruak.
However, most interesting for us was the second day of the 20th Anniversary celebrations where all representatives of the Timor Foundation were invited to give a presentation together with different Nobel Prize Laureates about their area of expertise. In my case, I had the privilege to present and discuss the ideas and approaches of the Timor-Foundation for the infrastructure development in Timor-Leste with people like Prof. Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Prize Laureate 2006, and Prof. Finn Erling Kydland, Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics 2004.
Particularly, I focused on our access-based infrastructure development projects including the development of clean drinking water shops under the leadership of Mrs. Barbara Lietz, the potential set-up of a low power wide area network as basis for smart farming and a multitude of access-based business models for local companies as well as the assessment of a dynamic routing bus system for the city of Dili (see presentation for details).
During the final celebrations on the 8th October we further had the opportunity to expand our network on behalf of the Timor Foundation including Dr. Adama Dieng, Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, or Rev. Bishop Gunnar Johan Stålsett.
The final evening event was a clear mark of the progress of Timor-Leste as a country with the highlight of Dr. José Ramos-Horta giving a short but very impressive speech on why Timor-Leste has been successful as one of world’s youngest nations and what challenges we need to jointly meet in the future.
The team of the Timor Foundation will jointly work with Dr. José Ramos-Horta and Mrs. Barbara Lietz to contribute significantly to the positive development of the country.
Prof. Dr. Roger Moser, Founding Board Member, Timor Foundation and Director, ASIA CONNECT Center-HSG, University of St.Gallen